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Handlebar Upgrade. Carbon vs Alum

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Handlebar Upgrade. Carbon vs Alum

Old 01-08-22, 06:05 PM
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beeballman
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Handlebar Upgrade. Carbon vs Alum

So I am looking at upgrading my current Oval Alum handle bars to something more aero. Almost everything on my Fuji has been upgraded. I am looking at the Easton SL70 Aero Carbon or The Zipp SR70 Aero Carbon, but I also found The Bontrager Aero VR-CF Road Bar, the later looks promising just a little heavier than the first two choices but also 1/3 the price because they are not carbon. Leaning to the Bontrager because it has room to mount my Quad Lock mount. Thoughts? Are Carbon bars worth the money?
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Old 01-08-22, 06:24 PM
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Well carbon bars do have some inherent, but ultimately minor advantages. Lower weight, better vibration damping and they don't corrode with sweat. Are they worth the money? That's your call entirely. But if I was "upgrading" my bars I would choose carbon.
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Old 01-08-22, 06:58 PM
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I use carbon bars (and aero ones) for comfort...weight and aero are not considerations but they will be slight advantages. Go for either one. Over hours, they are more comfortable than any alloy bar I have tried...road and gravel and even MTB. I really like the Zipp with its short reach and they are very comfy.
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Old 01-08-22, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by beeballman View Post
So I am looking at upgrading my current Oval Alum handle bars to something more aero. Almost everything on my Fuji has been upgraded. I am looking at the Easton SL70 Aero Carbon or The Zipp SR70 Aero Carbon, but I also found The Bontrager Aero VR-CF Road Bar, the later looks promising just a little heavier than the first two choices but also 1/3 the price because they are not carbon. Leaning to the Bontrager because it has room to mount my Quad Lock mount. Thoughts? Are Carbon bars worth the money?
GCN did a comparison of carbon vs Al bars a while back - the conclusion (albeit with a pretty small sample) was that Al could take the big hits better, but that CF had vastly greater fatigue resistance IMO fatigue- and corrosion resistance trump absolute strength every time for this application. I would think that if you hit the ground hard enough to break CF bars, having to replace bars is pretty low on your list of problems.
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Old 01-08-22, 08:39 PM
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If you've upgraded everything else, buying aluminum bars at this point will probably mean that you'll just end up buying a set of carbon bars sooner rather than later, anyway. Just get them now.

Personally, I like the feel of carbon bars, and I've had them on each of my last three primary bikes. I've got the Easton EC70 Aero on my Cervelo. Nice bars, I really like them - feel nice, look sharp. On my old Domane, I used to have some carbon Bontragers - the VR-CF shape is nice, too (the Easton's are similar and also have a subtle flare).
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Old 01-08-22, 08:41 PM
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Carbon bars are a nice upgrade; weight reduction (< 200 g) and vibration attenuation. Geometry (width, reach, drop) and comfort (same factors plus bar cross-section) are key considerations. "Aero" handlebars (to the extent that they lower CdA or otherwise improve aerodynamics) may not be as comfortable as ovalized tops.
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Old 01-08-22, 10:04 PM
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The vibration thing has been real in my experience with carbon bars. Noticable, not huge. Appreciated after a couple hours. 🙂
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Old 01-08-22, 10:38 PM
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If you ride in cold weather carbon bars are noticeably warmer than aluminum.
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Old 01-09-22, 04:31 AM
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Before choosing between alloy vs carbon, you should consider shape carefully. Me, I much prefer an all round bar made from a slim tube, and thick tape. I too have a fuji and very much dislike the bar it came with, - too thick on the top and the drop bend back is much too short. Wouldn't help me one bit replacing it with carbon if that was the only difference.

On a side note id suggest that the possible flex in a carbon bar is much greater than what is achievable in alloy. Alloy is susceptible to fatigue induced by repeated bending. Thus they are make very stiff to prevent it. Same with alloy frames. Carbon can be made to be flexible with out the risk of them breaking from fatigue. For that reason I think carbon have some advantages that may be realised in a proper design. Then again, at the usual price point of carbon bar other options in suspension stems emerges too.
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Old 01-09-22, 06:59 AM
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Are there any inherent issues using an alloy stem with carbon bars?
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Old 01-09-22, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
Well carbon bars do have some inherent, but ultimately minor advantages. Lower weight, better vibration damping and they don't corrode with sweat. Are they worth the money? That's your call entirely. But if I was "upgrading" my bars I would choose carbon.
I have had multiple locals break corroded alloy bars.

I vote carbon if only for that reason. Not a free ride to abuse or neglect bar tape changes and cleaning, but less risk there.
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Old 01-09-22, 08:36 AM
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Bloody expensive handlebars, carbon is. Is it worth $300, vs. $50 for aluminum ?, not in my world.
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Old 01-09-22, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
Are there any inherent issues using an alloy stem with carbon bars?
Everything you might want to know: https://www.corrosionpedia.com/galva...olymers/2/1556

The aluminum stem may be subject to galvanic corrosion, but that should be easily observed. Of course, you can isolate the two which would reduce the likelihood.

I have not seen any problem in the year since switching to carbon bars.

Now, the real issue is how do I explain to my wife that these are essential despite the cost: https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/e...xoC4-IQAvD_BwE
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Old 01-09-22, 02:14 PM
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More aero would be an out front mount with dedicated bike computer instead of a big smartphone sitting on top of a quad lock...
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Old 01-09-22, 06:07 PM
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Less wind resistance than a Karoo 2 or Wahoo device out front they are double the the thickness of my phone hitting the wind. Plus Chris Frome uses one when training, not during races.
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Old 01-09-22, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Mojo31 View Post
Everything you might want to know: https://www.corrosionpedia.com/galva...olymers/2/1556

The aluminum stem may be subject to galvanic corrosion, but that should be easily observed. Of course, you can isolate the two which would reduce the likelihood.

I have not seen any problem in the year since switching to carbon bars.

Now, the real issue is how do I explain to my wife that these are essential despite the cost: https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/e...xoC4-IQAvD_BwE
that is a very low stack cf bar. wonder if something similar with different height options are available elsewhere?
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Old 01-09-22, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
that is a very low stack cf bar. wonder if something similar with different height options are available elsewhere?
You can use spacers under it.


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Old 01-09-22, 09:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Mojo31 View Post
You can use spacers under it.


might be limited if the steer is not protruding enough.
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Old 01-10-22, 02:46 AM
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I like carbon bars. Is there a "real world" difference in vibration reduction / increased comfort? I can't say for sure, but I think so (small difference). They're a contact point, so it does pay to get it right. Then if you go for full-on aero shaped bars or an integrated bar/stem combo then carbon gives you plenty of options. Personally I think there's an advantage to quality carbon handlebars.

But of course, is that difference worth:

Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Bloody expensive handlebars, carbon is. Is it worth $300, vs. $50 for aluminum ?, not in my world.
Arguably not the most cost effective upgrade!

That's a decision you'll need to figure out for yourself.
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Old 01-10-22, 12:48 PM
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I've had plenty of carbon and aluminum bars. Whether it is worth it to spend extra on carbon really depends on the bar. There are good and bad carbon and aluminum bars.

What is more important is that the drop, reach and bar shape fits your needs. Also, note that a lot of aerobars flare at the drops. So a bar that is 42cm wide at the hoods can be 44cm wide at the drops.

And if aero is your goal:
  • Narrower bars will likely have a greater impact than aero shaped tops.
  • Carbon bars likely have better shaping than aluminum.
Lastly, there is nothing wrong with using an aluminum stem on carbon bars. Just make sure you use the correct torque specs on the bar.
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Old 01-10-22, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
Are there any inherent issues using an alloy stem with carbon bars?
Not sure what you meant by "inherent" issues here. Other than more diligence regarding torque specifications, there are less issues with using an alloy stem with a carbon bar than with an alloy bar.

Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
Lastly, there is nothing wrong with using an aluminum stem on carbon bars. Just make sure you use the correct torque specs on the bar.
Exactly. And better off putting what one would have spent on a carbon stem toward a better carbon bar.
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Old 01-10-22, 03:43 PM
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One can argue about performance, but the hand positioning and grip of aero carbon bars sure has a different feel to them compared to round alloy bars. I like my Easton EC90s for sure, but maybe not everybody would.
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Old 01-10-22, 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by beeballman View Post
Less wind resistance than a Karoo 2 or Wahoo device out front they are double the the thickness of my phone hitting the wind. Plus Chris Frome uses one when training, not during races.
I think it's Wahoo advertises their computer mount is aerodynamic.

What silly ****.
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Old 01-10-22, 05:13 PM
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Oh yeah, aerodynamics is all about thin frontal area. That's why all the latest aero frame shapes are thin tubes.
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Old 01-10-22, 06:27 PM
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Sweet looking bike and set up!
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